When You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling…
By Jen Phillips April | September 17, 2018
Relationships are funny things. When they feel right, they feel great and when they’re just not “right” anymore, it’s very uncomfortable.
Sometimes it sneaks up on you. Everything seems like happy times and then, bam! Out of nowhere, you’re feeling uneasy. Maybe there’s a staff change and that great client you enjoyed working with has a new point of contact that doesn’t feel as warm and fuzzy.
Or the industry is shifting and you’re not sure where you fit anymore.
There can be a lot of reasons why a “fit” no longer feels right and it’s ok to acknowledge those feelings.
In the last article, I invited you to craft an ideal client profile….for now and suggested you revisit it at least once a year. You might find it useful to revisit it every quarter.
The type of client that made your eyes light up when you first started out is not the same type of client who will elicit that response five years later. That’s because you’ve grown and your business has evolved. So what do you do when that client profile shifts?
It’s ok to change your mind
In her book Body of Work: Find the Thread that Ties Your Story Together, writer and speaker Pamela Slim wrote that you can have the power to choose throughout your life. Maybe you go freelance and after a few years your dream client offers you a full-time position. You mull it over and decide to accept. You might find it’s a perfect fit. Or you won’t. Or maybe it’s perfect for a couple of years and then you’re itching to go back to the freelance life.
The point is, when it comes to The Writer’s Life, choices aren’t permanent. Your idea of the ideal client and day-to-day work will evolve and that’s perfectly ok. You get to be the author of your own story – more on that next week.
For now, consider the language people use to indicate change. They say they’re “switching gears,” “going in a different direction,” even “rebranding.” These are the terms people use to say their business has changed and they’re figuring out their new direction. Sometimes they’ve dropped a service or gotten super specialized.
It’s a natural process of growth. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to client work. Some writers partner with a graphic designer and offer one-stop website solutions. Others work exclusively on projects like communications for higher education. You might morph through these at various points in your career.
If you’re feeling like something is “off” and you can’t put your finger on it, or if you’re feeling like you’re just not enjoying your work like you once did, then those are signs to re-evaluate what you’re doing and who you’re working with to get back into balance.
It’s an opportunity to revisit that “Ideal Client Profile…for Now” exercise and see if your “A” clients now feel like “B’s” or even “C’s.” It happens. It can also happen that a client who seemed like a C has transformed into a B or an A.
It’s ok. As you gain experience, you have a better sense of the types of work you most enjoy doing, and the type of people you most enjoy working with – which means you can craft a new version of your ideal client.
Give yourself permission to play a little. There are thousands of industries and sub-industries and dozens of different types of writing projects. Use your past experience (and a little imagination) to plan your next step. Who would you like to work with next? Or, what kind of work would you like to do next?
Maybe you’ve been writing web copy for small businesses and now you feel like you’d like to focus on web marketing for health coaches because you’ve written for a couple of them already and you resonate with the people and the topic.
Then explore that avenue. I’d reach out to my health coaching clients and tell them I so enjoyed working with them, I’d like to find out more about the industry. People love to talk about their passions so this works to your favor. I’d ask to schedule a short call with them. Now, because you wrote their web copy, you already have insight into their specific business, so I’d base my follow up questions on those previous conversations.
Talk to them about their marketing, what’s going well and what isn’t. What blogs do they read? What professional associations do they belong to? Share ideas you have about how they could improve their marketing, and if possible, try to discuss a budget range for marketing. However, remember, it’s important to frame this as an informational call, not a sales call and keep it as such. If they’re interested in taking it further, you can schedule another call.
Now that you have more insight into the market, it’s time to brainstorm ideas.
- Which services could you offer?
- What price point?
- Who do you already know who might be a fit?
- Where can you speak/guest blog/write for industry publications to get in front of more health coaches?
- Which would be the best sources for recurring revenue?
Now you have the broad strokes of a marketing plan designed to help you attract more of that type of client. Over the next few weeks you can devote time to refining your offer by reaching out in that industry. Talk with others. Review conference schedules to see what the hot topics are, and offer to write for industry publications.
Before long, a new version of your ideal client will take shape, and you can tailor your message to that profile – for as long as it suits your writing skills and desires. In the next installment, we’ll talk about how you get to create your own story and how thinking of it from this perspective is empowering.
This article is part the series: Your Ideal Client
- Part 1: What is an Ideal Client?
- Part 2: Crafting Your Ideal Client…For Now…
- Part 3 (this page): When You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling…
- Part 4: You’re the Author! Create the Story You Want to Live